The Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda has withdrawn from the fraught Primates Meeting in Canterbury in a sign of the depth of divisions there.
North American Churches – the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada – have been the focus of conservative opposition due to their acceptance of same-sex relationships.
The Primates Meeting is private. However, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali released a statement saying that he had moved a resolution on Tuesday asking the North American Churches to “voluntarily withdraw from the meeting and other Anglican Communion activities until they repented of their decisions that have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level”.
He said: “They would not agree to this request nor did it appear that the Archbishop of Canterbury and his facilitators would ensure that this matter be substantively addressed in a timely manner.”
Consequently, he said, “In accordance with the resolution of our Provincial Assembly, it was, therefore, necessary for me to withdraw from the meeting, which I did at the end of the second day.
It seemed that I was being manipulated into participating in a long meeting with the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada without the necessary discipline being upheld. My conscience is at peace.”
Archbishop Ntagali said that while he was leaving the meeting at Canterbury, “we are not leaving the Anglican Communion”.
However, he made it clear that his view of the Communion did not include Churches his own regard as compromised by liberal attitudes toward homosexuality. “Together with our fellow GAFCON Provinces and others in the Global South, we are the Anglican Communion; the future is bright,” he said.
“The door is open for all those who seek communion on the basis of a common confession of our historic, Biblical faith for which the Ugandan Martyrs, Archbishop James Hannington, Archbishop Janani Luwum and many others around the world have died.”
While the Archbishop of Canterbury will be disappointed at Ntagali’s actions, so far a mass walkout of conservative Primates has been avoided, indicating that the conversations aimed at holding the Communion together in a looser form of unity are still continuing.